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Work to clear Haast Pass highway to begin next month

By Christine Linnell of the Greymouth Star

Haast Pass highway blocked by a slip last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Haast Pass highway blocked by a slip last year. Photo / Otago Daily Times

Work to get the Haast Pass highway back to full capacity at Diana Falls after the major landslip which claimed the lives of two Canadian tourists in September is expected to begin early next month.

State Highway 6 between Haast township and Makarora has been reduced to single-lane traffic from 8am to 7pm and closed at night for the past five months, but workers hope to reopen to two lanes and 24/7 traffic by mid-year, the New Zealand Transport Agency announced today.

"There have been some delays in getting this work under way as we have worked to finalise what is needed on site, to complete the design, source material and appoint a contractor," NZTA senior network manager Mark Pinner said.

A contractor would be appointed within the next couple of weeks to undertake the work, including installation of a catch fence above the road, a debris fence about one-third of the way up the slip face, and the blasting and removal of large rocks that are considered at risk of creating instability at the site.

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